Data leak boosts Froome, puts Wiggins in spotlight

Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:35am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Chris Froome's credibility as triple Tour de France champion has only been boosted by the hacking of his private medical information, according to a South African physiologist who carried out tests on the Briton last year.

Jeroen Swart, in an interview with the Cycling Tips website, suggested, however, that other data published by alleged Russian cyber hackers had weakened Team Sky's image as "squeaky clean, cleaner than the rest."

A group, identified as APT28 and Fancy Bear by U.S. cyber-security researchers, last week revealed Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) for Froome and 2012 Tour winner Bradley Wiggins.

Froome's information was already known.

"It seems Chris has been completely transparent and open about his TUEs and the documents back that," said Swart, who worked with Froome after the rider decided to answer critics and undergo physiological tests. "There was nothing hidden or untowards from Chris’s side.

"I think it was (Sunday Times journalist) David Walsh who wrote that Chris had been offered a TUE for cortisone in 2015 when in the last week of the Tour he was starting to develop a chest infection or an asthma exacerbation, and declined. He rode on without one.

"Based on that perspective, he actually comes out looking all the better after this. It is really Wiggins and the team who are having a negative light cast on them. From Chris’s side, it is actually quite positive."

Wiggins, the first British rider to win the Tour and his country's most decorated Olympian after last month's Rio Games took his tally to eight medals, is facing questions about his use of allergy injections that emerged in the leak.   Continued...

Cycling - Tour de France cycling race - The 113-km (70,4 miles) Stage 21 from Chantilly to Paris, France - 24/07/2016  - Yellow jersey leader and overall winner Team Sky rider Chris Froome of Britain reacts on the podium.  REUTERS/Stephane Mantey/Pool